Maya culture in about 1500 B.C. invented the umbrella independently of the Chinese but used it for the same purpose. A device consisting of a circular canopy or covering on a folding frame, supported by a central rod, it was used as protection against sun or rain. Native American umbrellas were made of feathers which were assembled into a circular canopy that was then attached to a pole. The use of a cover for protection from rain or sun spread throughout North America.